North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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December 30, 2013

AAA Alabama offers free towing on New Years Eve

BIRMINGHAM — As Alabamians celebrate on New Year’s Eve, AAA Alabama cautions partygoers against getting behind the wheel after the champagne toast. According to a recent analysis conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, during the last decade, the years’ highest number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities occur on New Year’s Day.

To save lives and promote safe driving this New Year’s Eve, AAA Alabama and wrecker services across the state will again offer Tow-for-Life. This public service program provides free towing services to keep impaired drivers off the road. 

This is the 27th year for the program, and the service is provided to AAA members and non-members alike. AAA does not condone drinking and driving and encourages all motorists to act responsibly to keep drunk drivers off the road throughout the holidays.

The program begins at 6 p.m. on Tuesday and continues until 6 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

“This is the most dangerous time of year to be on the roads,” says Clay Ingram, AAA Alabama spokesperson. “We want to raise awareness and encourage people to plan ahead when going out on New Year’s Eve. It is important to make arrangements before you go out, so that you aren’t making these decisions after you have been drinking. We want help keep impaired drivers off the roads, so if you or someone you know has too much to drink on New Year’s Eve, just call 1-800-AAA-HELP and we’ll help get you home safely.”

In fact, wreckers are usually among the first at the scene of deadly crashes where alcohol has been involved and New Year’s Eve is traditionally one of the most dangerous nights of the year to drive. AAA encourages party-goers who drink alcohol to appoint a designated driver and party hosts should prevent guests from driving after drinking by calling a taxi to take them home, allowing the guest to spend the night or by making other arrangements to keep them safe.

To receive free towing on New Year’s Eve:

• Call AAA Alabama at 1-800-222-4357 (1-800-AAA-HELP) and ask for Tow-for-Life. The vehicle must be operable to qualify for a free tow.

• The operator will ask for the driver’s name, home address, telephone number and exact location of the vehicle and driver.

• A tow truck will be dispatched and upon arrival the wrecker driver will ask for identification and the keys to the vehicle.

• The vehicle will be towed to the home of the driver or owner if the owner is present.

• Towing is provided at no charge up to 10 miles.

While the holidays make for a timely reason to raise the visibility of alcohol-related fatalities, AAA also continues to spread the message to not drink and drive in response to feedback from its members — who represent one in every four households — citing impaired driving as their greatest safety concern.   And they’re not alone. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index reveals that 97 percent of drivers consider impaired driving to be unacceptable. Despite that fact, Americans continue to drink and drive. Alcohol-impaired drivers make up about one third of motor vehicle deaths.

“We’ve all heard that a DUI conviction can cost you financially. Legal fees, bail and other related expenses can amount to more than $10,000,” said Ingram. “But impaired driving can have a cost that impacts more than the wallet. Getting behind the wheel after drinking can lead to life-altering outcomes.”

AAA reminds motorists of the true costs of impaired driving:

• It can cost you your life. In 2009, 10,839 people lost their lives in alcohol-related traffic crashes. That’s about one death every 48 minutes.

• It can cost another’s life.  Alcohol-related traffic crashes don’t only affect the impaired driver. One-third of alcohol-involved traffic fatalities are passengers, occupants in other vehicles or pedestrians.

• It can cost you your freedom. A first-time DUI conviction can result in a six-to 12-month jail sentence, more for repeat offenders and for impaired drivers who injure or kill someone in a crash. Monitoring bracelets, ignition interlock equipment, license revocation and probation also place restrictions on your life.

For more information about the Tow-for-Life program, call (205) 444-8885.

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